16 July 2016

Learning to Fly...

It has been a long time since I've written anything for this blog. Too long. I'm planning on doing a series this week that isn't my usual woe-is-me, doom-and-gloom ramblings because I've embarked on a unique opportunity for a bit of adventure. An old friend invited me to get out of my comfort zone and stay with him and his wife for the week in Seattle, Washington.

Normally I wouldn't do anything during vacation time except stay at home. Prior to this trip I've been a firm believer that if I can't operate the vehicle myself then it isn't worth the risk of going. Not because of a fear of heights and enclosed spaces that are part and parcel of air travel, rather simply because I'm not in control of the vehicle. Also because I haven't been in an airplane since I was two or three, and have had thirty-plus years to develop all kinds of anxieties and neuroses that could turn into an unpleasant experience for myself and other travelers at thirty thousand feet.

What I've discovered is that flying is exhilarating. For about an hour. From takeoff to about ten thousand feet my thoughts were "Aren't we humans amazing? Look at what we've accomplished!" and "Hey, I can see my neighborhood!" From ten to twenty thousand feet my thoughts turned to "Look at the ground... No lines of demarcation... We humans are collectively insignificant." Once cruising altitude was achieved it dawned on me that "Wow, I am completely insignificant." I imagine the experience is scaled up considerably for astronauts.

As I mentioned above, this train of thought lasted about an hour. For the remaining three hours to the Phoenix Sky Harbor I tried everything I could to keep my mind off the fact that my seat was incredibly uncomfortable. This turned into a bit of a balancing act of distraction, as I had no way to charge either my iPad or phone, and I'd need the phone to call my friend once I landed at SeaTac. I would have liked to sleep, and could have if I'd had the foresight to get a travel pillow and attempted to charge my devices while I waited at CLT. Lesson learned.

Aside from all of that joy and misery in equal measure, I made it whole and hale to what could have been the Seattle Metroplex had history taken a different turn in the early 2000's.

After a light snack of a wing and leftover poutine at his home, I finally crashed after being conscious for twenty-four hours.

Now I'm up, having my first (ever) iced coffee, and this is my view as I punch this out on my iPad:

I think I'm going to enjoy myself...

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